Realizing the Dream Concert 2013: The Performers

Take 6 

The most awarded vocal group in history (including 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards and a Soul Train Award) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Members are Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley.

Six virtuosic voices unite in crystal-clear a cappella harmony against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements and funky grooves that bubble into an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B and pop. With praise from Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston, the multiplatinum-selling sextet has toured across the globe, collaborated across genres, and is recognized as one of the pre-eminent a cappella groups in the world.

At Walmart’s 50th anniversary celebration, Take 6 captivated the audience with its rendition of the Louis Armstrong hit “What a Wonderful World.” Two weeks later, at the behest of producer Phil Ramone, Take 6 thrilled the audience at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards performing with and honoring singer‐songwriter Ben E. King on his classic “Stand by Me.” As a group that knows no musical bounds, Take 6 then brought the house down with its tribute to Woody Guthrie with “This Land Is Your Land.”

Take 6 began in 1980 at Huntsville’s Oakwood College. When they signed to Reprise Records/Warner Bros. in 1987, they took the name Take 6, a play on the Take 5 jazz standard and the fact there are 6 in the group. Their debut album in 1988 won over jazz and pop critics, scored two Grammys and landed them in the Take 6’s debut CD won over jazz and pop critics, scored two 1988 Grammy Awards and landed them in the Top 10 Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts. Take 6’s 2012 recording on Shanachie is notable because the group returns to its spiritual heritage.

As Take 6 celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a brand new show for the Realizing the Dream Concert, they will share memories of the past as well as reveal what the future holds.

The Aeolians

The Aeolians of Oakwood University began in 1946, the creation of Dr. Eva B. Dykes. The choir has traveled widely, touching the hearts of both young and old. Subsequent conductors include Joni Pierre-Louis, Harold Anthony, Dr. Jon Robertson, Dr. Alma M. Blackmon, Dr. John Dennison, Dr. Ricky Little (a former Aeolian), Eurydice Osterman, Michele Cleveland, Lloyd Mallory, Julie Moore, Norman Crarey, Dr. Wayne Bucknor (a former Aeolian) and the current director, Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand (a former Aeolian).

The Aeolians have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and other prominent national as well as international venues, more than 200 concerts in the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and Canada. Performances at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Dallas (1980) led to an invitation from the Polish SDA Church in Warsaw, Poland, to tour that country.

Aeolian concerts present a repertoire of choral music that ranges from the Baroque era to the 21st century to Negro spirituals and work songs, which express the yearnings of their forefathers to be free as demonstrated in the group’s album “Oh Freedom” (1974), which sold more than 10,000 copies.

Under the direction of Ferdinand and accompanied on the piano by Dr. Wayne Bucknor, chairperson of the music department of Oakwood University, the choir placed first in 2010 and 2011 in the iSing HBCU Challenge hosted by Reid Temple AME Church in Lanham, Md. In December 2011, the Aeolians were presented with the keys to the city of Huntsville with Dec. 3 the day named in their honor.

In January 2012, as part of the Russia-U.S. Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, the Aeolians were invited to sing at the Moscow International Performing Arts Center. Topping off a stellar 2011–2012 performance season, the Aeolians earned gold medals in all three categories of entrance and the overall championship in the Spiritual category at the Seventh World Choir Games held in Cincinnati.